What is the weather like?
“Colorado Weather Motto” If you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes and it will change.
Western Colorado is noted for its rapidly changing weather patterns. Most our weather comes from the west and moves east. Brief sudden summer shower are common in the afternoon when the clouds release their moisture before drifting over the continental divide.
A typical summer day is sunny. There is scarcely a day that the sun doesn’t shine. The temperature varies according to the attitude. At 8000 ft for example, the temperature it is the 70 and 80’s. In the evenings it cools to the 50’s. The humidity is very low. A brief afternoon shower is typical. Bring jackets for the cool summer evenings.
As you travel west, to the lower valleys, it rains less and it is warmer. Summer afternoon temperatures can exceed 95 deg F several times each year. A bathing suit is always handy.
Luckily, it only takes a short drive to higher elevations to find cooler fresh air.
Western Colorado winter weather is colder but calmer that the rest of the state. Temperatures can drop below zero F in all areas of western Colorado, but the lower valleys of west central and southwest Colorado receive abundant sunshine and the winter are not harsh.
Rain and snow precipitation west of the Continental Divide is more evenly distributed throughout the year. In Western Colorado, we get the most of our precipitation during the winter months, and June is our driest month. Late summer and autumn can be the wettest time of year. We only average from 8 to 14 inches of rainfall. Just a few words of caution before we begin have fun in Western Colorado.
How will the altitude affect me?
In a very few people the higher elevations may cause some problems. But most people adjust and no problem at all. But it is a good idea to be able to recognize the problems and know how to prevent them.
As you go higher, the air becomes thinner, and less oxygen is available. The air is cooler and drier and the sun is stronger. Each of these changes is very important.
You may notice that your breathing is faster and deeper and you may feel short of breath especially when you are exercise. Your heart is likely to beat a little faster. This is also normal.
However, if you are from sea level, you may also develop a headache, a slight touch of nausea or unusual tiredness. This is what we call mountain sickness or altitude sickness. The children and the elderly are slightly more susceptible.
These symptoms usually go away in a day or two. But if the grow worst, see a doctor. If you develop a worsening cough or increasing shortness of breath or if you feel you have fluid on your lungs see a doctor at once and get to lower altitude.
Mountain sickness is usually minor and only 20% of the visitors feel these symptoms. However, it can become serious, so don’t take it lightly or try to tough it out.
Fortunately, you can do a few things before you vacation to lessen the chances of developing mountain sickness.
- Spending two nights in lower elevation (Around 5000 feet)
- Eat more Carbohydrates
- Drink more water.
- Consume less salt
- The first day here take it easy
- Reduce alcohol consumptionand salty foods.
- Reduce caffeine
One Drink Equal Two Drinks At Attitude
I have just reread what I wrote, and I think I have made it appears more scary that it really is, but “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cures”.
The sun has more power in the thin mountain air, and bad sunburn can spoil your vacation. I always use a strong sunscreen and lip balm. Cold Sores are another common problem because the dry thin air. Snow blindness is a sun burn of the eyes. Bring sunglasses or goggles with good ultraviolet protection. And it is always a good idea to carry a bottle of water.
For every 1000 feet increase in elevation the temperature decreases 3 degrees and it gets cold very fast. Take extra cloths. Hypothermia (low body temperature) can occur even in the summer if you get wet or wind chilled, tired or poorly dressed.
The warning signs are clumsiness, trouble thinking or taking clearly, confusion. Watch for these signs in each other. If in doubt, stop, warm up, eat and drink something warm.
The mountain air is very dry. You will lose much more water that you realize, just doing the easiest of activities. It is very important to maintain your body’s water level, so drink two or three times more that you normally would. Bring you water, don’t drink from the streams.
One more important thing about alcohol at higher elevations: One Drink Equals Two Dinks, so be carefully. According to a little old Palisade wine maker, “A glass of wine goes a long way in the high country”